Introduction: Cherry Salsa

Cherry salsa is a fantastic choice for a canning project.  There is a short window of time to prepare it fresh, it can be hard to find commercially and it is super-delicious!

Since cherries are on the pricey side, towards the end of the season is the best time to take advantage of sales (unless you are lucky enough to have a cherry tree and can harvest your own).  Stock up, spend an afternoon canning and you'll have fresh cherry salsa year-round.

Step 1: Ingredients

3 lbs cherries
1 bunch cilantro
1 long hot pepper
6 small sweet peppers
1/2 cup water
5 Tbs sherry vinegar
6 cloves garlic
2 Tbs chia seeds (for thickening and they are crazy-healthy, can substitute 1 Tbs dissolved cornstarch)
Juice from 2 limes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 pint canning jars (8)
Paper towels
Cloth towel
Asparagus steamer (or actual canning equipment)
Oven mitt (or canning tongs)
Cutting board

Step 2: Cut Your Fruit and Veggies

Prepare fresh salsa...
  1. Pit and cut cherries
  2. Juice limes
  3. Mince garlic, peppers and cilantro
  4. Mix ingredients in a bowl and add salt and pepper
If you are not planning to can the salsa, you're done!  Otherwise, move to the next step.

Step 3: Cook

Pour salsa into saucepan.  Briefly cooking the salsa before canning (called hot-packing) will help retain color and flavor after canning. Bring mixture to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce to a simmer for 3 - 5 minutes.

Fill canning jars...
  1. After each is filled, slowly mix with a small utensil to remove air bubbles.  In this case, a chopstick was used
  2. Wipe sides and mouth with a paper towel to remove any salsa that could get between the lid and the jar
  3. Place lid and tightly screw on top

Step 4: Can

Jar goes into cage...

Cage goes into water...

Cover and boil for 15 minutes.

Step 5: Remove and Store

Remove jar from the rack using an oven mitt (a Pac-Man oven mitt if possible) and set on a towel until cool. 

Press down on center of each jar to make sure they are sealed.  If not, rinse jar and repeat process.

Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year. 

Look forward to enjoying your summery, fresh salsa in the middle of winter : )
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